Mapping a New Vision for Docent Tours
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
Lippitt House is pretty much as new as museums get. It opened its doors as a museum in 1993 and only hired its first director in 2013. One of the first things we had to tackle is the program most traditionally associated with any historic site: the docent-led tour.
As a staff, we began by talking about our vision for tours. We wanted to develop an historic house tour that kept people listening, asking questions, and sharing their knowledge and views. We wanted to create experiences that people would remember and not just facts. We also wanted to tap into issues that are important to people today and engage visitors with the big ideas that are most relevant to Lippitt House’s history (namely, civic engagement, immigration, industrialization, and design). Finally, we didn’t want the tours to be cookie cutter. We wanted each docent to be empowered to develop their own tour and to be flexible enough to go with the flow on tours and not stick to a script.